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Looking for a city/state to start doing Permaculture

 
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A bit about myself:
I am in my late 30s and have a desk job in the Phoenix, AZ area.  My boss said that I could work remotely and I would like to relocate to an area that is "easy" to do permaculture (or at least what I think of as permaculture).
I have read a number of discussions about places to do permaculture, but wanted to ask with my own thoughts and things that I am looking for.


I am looking for a place based on the following criteria:
1.  Moderate climate.  Ideally the temp would not get colder than 20F in the Winter, or higher than 100F in the Summer.
2.  Clean air and clean water.  I currently live in Phoenix, AZ and the air quality is terrible.  I would like to live in a place where the air and water quality is at least as good as the national average.
3.  Rainfall sufficient for fruit trees and annual vegetables.  I don't know what a good target number is for this.  I have looked at maps for the US that show rainfall averages.  The Southeaster US looks like it is the best in this regard.
4.  Relatively low probability of natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes, etc).  
5.  Reasonably close to a town and medical facilities.  My parents are getting older and may need urgent care at some point.



Some of the places that I have considered:
Washington State, Oregon, California:  There are some beautiful areas that get lots of rain, but I am concerned about earthquakes.

Idaho:  I have looked into rainfall for a number of cities and I think it might be too dry, hot in Summer, and cold in Winter.

North Carolina:  I read that residents do not own the mineral rights (all you really own is your house). There are a number of Superfund sites and three nuclear reactors.

Arkansas:  There appears to be a lot of fracking in the state.

Arizona:  I have considered Sedona and Snowflake.  These cities look ok, but there is not much rainfall.  



I would appreciate input regarding what I am looking for, places I have considered, and places that I have not considered.
 
steward
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How do you feel about humidity in conjunction with heat?  And what about cloudy/drizzly weather?  

Based purely on your temperature needs, I'm thinking the middle chunk of the eastern half of the country or the northwest.  Elevation can be your friend in that a particular county could be too warm but if you're up on a hill or mountain it's much more bearable (thinking Appalachia)  
 
Steve Humbolt
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Mike Jay wrote:How do you feel about humidity in conjunction with heat?  And what about cloudy/drizzly weather?  

Based purely on your temperature needs, I'm thinking the middle chunk of the eastern half of the country or the northwest.  Elevation can be your friend in that a particular county could be too warm but if you're up on a hill or mountain it's much more bearable (thinking Appalachia)  



I'm ok with humidity and cloudy/drizzly weather.  My concern with with Northwest is earthquakes and my concern with the middle eastern states are fracking and ticks (Lyme disease).  The only eastern state that I've visited is North Carolina so don't know if my concerns are warranted.  I'm also not an experienced permie person.
 
Mike Jay
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I think everywhere east of the Mississippi has Lymes disease.  I'm thinking you are better off managing your property for them than trying to avoid them.  Unless avoiding them works out due to other unrelated criteria.

Is cost of land an issue?  That could also narrow it down or eliminate some places.  

You may have to rank your climate/disaster/weather preferences and just narrow down the list from there.  I think permaculture can be done anywhere so don't let that be your limiter.
 
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Steve Humbolt wrote:

Mike Jay wrote:How do you feel about humidity in conjunction with heat?  And what about cloudy/drizzly weather?  

Based purely on your temperature needs, I'm thinking the middle chunk of the eastern half of the country or the northwest.  Elevation can be your friend in that a particular county could be too warm but if you're up on a hill or mountain it's much more bearable (thinking Appalachia)  



I'm ok with humidity and cloudy/drizzly weather.  My concern with with Northwest is earthquakes and my concern with the middle eastern states are fracking and ticks (Lyme disease).  The only eastern state that I've visited is North Carolina so don't know if my concerns are warranted.  I'm also not an experienced permie person.



Ticks are just a normal happening here in Kentucky. Personally, I have pulled probably 30+ out of my head, armpits, etc. in all the 36 years I have lived here :) If you get them before they are embedded for 24 hours the risk of disease is minimal (which is pretty easy to do if you check yourself daily) I don't even worry about them and this is the first time I have heard a person not consider moving to an area because of worry about lyme disease. I think there are more important things to worry about than something like that, but mental health is important and if it bothers you enough to be a deal breaker for you then I completely understand!  

I think there is a huge opportunity for permaculture practices to thrive in KY, we get upper 90F scorching summer periods to -10F frozen winters - and everything in between. It creates a unique environment that allows for some amazing plant and animal species to exist, and can exercise the full spectrum of permaculture design because sooo many things have to be considered (high winds from spring storms, periods of drought, periods of flood, extreme heat/cold, varying soils from sand to clay, ROCKS, hills, etc.) Keeps things FUN!

I am a novice/intermediate in practice and knowledge, so you are not alone - but working harder everyday at my house, a farm I work on, and my own farm to embrace, evolve, and live with the forces of nature in a more sustainable and respectful way.

Wherever you choose, I think with enough willpower, you can make anything work out!
 
pollinator
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Serious earthquakes are rare. Having been raised in California, I have always thought that people is other places worry way too much about them. And now we are seeing them happen other areas, ones where they aren't so expected. I am much more focused on a place that fits my day to day needs than some remote possibility disaster. I highly recommend the west coast. And as far as medical facilities go, Medford and surrounding areas are a big retirement area with lots of medical and VA facilities.
 
Steve Humbolt
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Thank you all for the replies and suggestions.

Can anyone suggest a place in Arizona that is well suited to permaculture?
 
pollinator
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Hi Steve,

I see your dilemma in preponderance, but can I just say: it's not the environment, it's how initiative you are in adaption. When you look at geological history, and the transitions the earth is always doing, and being long overdue for, geologically speaking, those things you're carefully perpondering, add up to nothing. Everything has an innovative solution, and the best you can do is find balance in choosing your property for homesteading or permaculture applications.

My advice, find a place that offers you the most freedom, as in less regulation and low taxes, with the cheapest land: thats also within weekly commuting to a city big enough, to sell your products and get supplies. Sure stay away from extreems like the Arizona desert, the immediate coast, or Alaska arctic, but no place is perfect. In fact places more desirable will have high population densities, and regulations that won't let you have the freedoms to effectively or cheeply implement the options or strategies often times most beneficial in homesteading and permaculture. In other words, practicality gets legislated away, and strictly enforced.

Things like rainfall don't matter as much if you adapt your strategies and plantings to that climate, also using earthworks and or irrigation. Mineral rights only matter, if there are minerals others are interested in, which typically are already claimed. To cold doesn't matter as much if you can build low tunnels and use row fleece, or build geothermal regulated greenhouses. In fact many places thought to be ideal, regulations can be so limiting, implamenting strategies can no longer be cost effective for the average homesteader/permaculture enthusiasts, when it comes to being effective and profitable/sustainable. What good does it do to be in the "ideal area" if you can't afford to survive or make beneficial improvements.

Thats why you see many people moving to less desirable places, with low population densities. Then you don't get a citation if your livestock gets out of a padock, or because your composting, requiring a concrete slab, so those nutrients can't leach into your garden soil or feild crops.

There are countless ways to effectively adapt, to be productive in every situation, as life has been doing this to survive for countless millenia.

Food for thought.
 
gardener
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Steve Humbolt wrote:Thank you all for the replies and suggestions.

Can anyone suggest a place in Arizona that is well suited to permaculture?



Pretty close to Arizona, but in Utah, is Heartwater Farm which I've visited and is a nice place. Their kids weren't into permaculture so they were looking for someone to take over. The wife passed away last year I think, so if you want something already developed for like 20 years it's an option. Year-round water, a nice pond with little island in the middle that nests migratory birds, monolithic dome house with solar and off grid, geodesic dome greenhouses, and they raised pastured beef for someone using a dozen paddocks and rotated the cattle almost daily. At the end of the year on top of being paid they kept a cow to butcher for a year of meat, but if you're not into that you just don't keep one or find a different use for the land to earn a living. No idea what price he is asking these days, or perhaps it already sold and the web site is outdated, it never worked perfectly in the past. You also are less than an hour from Bryce Canyon, and maybe 90 minutes to Zion and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
 
master pollinator
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I was reading the list of wants and thought, "Maine has all of that."

The only thing that was off was the coldest tolerable temperatures. We do get below 30 degrees, but it is not for long stretches of time. Perceived cold keeps a lot of people away, but it also keeps out the riff-raff; more of a benefit then a detraction in my estimation.
 
pioneer
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Colorado gets my vote.  If it weren't for family ties here, I would be back there in a second.
 
gardener
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About Washington and Oregon. The east side of both states are very dry and get decently cold in the winter depending on where exactly you are. They also get hot in the summer and forest fires are a regular concern. The west sides of the 2 states get a lot more rain but are still very dry in the summer and sometimes late spring / early fall. Forest fires are less common but still happen.

I grew up in eastern Washington but now live in western Washington. In many ways I prefer eastern WA but I like western WA too. Just a lot of people in western WA and it is expensive here but there are more jobs too.

As far as earthquakes go... that is more an issue in California. There is always the risk of the big one in Washington and Oregon but that is more of a concern for the coastline as opposed to the rest of the state.

Where I'm living the big earthquake would likely cause a fair bit of structural damage but my place is not at risk of a tsunami. But some areas are at risk of a tsunami.

In general in western Washington the wet winters and dry summers are the biggest challenge. The ground can be completely saturated and flooding can happen in the winter but then in the summer it can be bone dry. That kind of flux can be hard for plants to deal with.

But good permaculture design can address this issue.

In any western state I would worry the most about the availability of water in the summer and the risk of forest/grass fires.

But the western states are great places to do permaculture in my opinion!
 
Steve Humbolt
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The Heartwater farm looks very nice, but is outside of my price range ($1.2M).  

@Daron Williams  Thank you for the info.  I'll look into WA and OR.

@Trace Oswald  I lived in Fort Collins, CO for a year.  It was nice, but I knew a handful of people that had fruit trees and gardens and were not successful.  Is there a particular part of the state that you think is good for growing?

@R. Steele Thank you for the ideas.  Certainly food for thought.

Are there places in Idaho that are desirable?
 
R. Steele
pollinator
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Hi Steve,

Have you considered New Mexico? Cheap land, and lots of Hatch Geen Chillies...lol! On a more serious note, the Ozarks of Arkansas are probably your best fit. They do have ticks and copperheads here: however, its not really an issue for the people who live hear. They use guinea hens to eat the ticks, and in very remote properties they just dispatch the one or two copperheads per year, if they find them on there property.

Venomous snakes are everywhere, even Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington have venomous snakes especially in some remote aras. Otherwise North Carolina is your best bet, and there are nice areas in North Carolina, where people don't have issues with the pests you mentioned: at least in distant rural areas within weekly commuting distance from small metropolitan areas.

Hope that helps!

Best wishes, R.
 
Mike Jay
steward
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I know an area with no venomous snakes, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, rare tornadoes, regular summer rain, no fracking, plenty of clean air and water, cheap land, decent soil, plentiful rivers and lakes, flat to hilly terrain, very low cost of land and cost of living and summer highs rarely at 90 degrees.  But it gets a bit below 0 in the winter.  That would be the wooded portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Just figured I'd throw it out there
 
pioneer
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I will add my vote for NW Arkansas.  No fracking that I have seen near here, but the health care is not great.  We moved here 3 years ago and love it except for the chiggers.  Property values are quite reasonable.  If you want more info send me a purple mooseage.

 
Steve Humbolt
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@ R. Steele  I've looked into Fayetteville, AR.  I liked what I saw, but my understanding is that there is a lot of fracking in AR that has affected the water.

@  Mike Jay  I have a relative who lives in Wisconsin.  It sounds quite nice, but the Winter would be too cold.
 
Ralph Kettell
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Hi Steve,

From my limited understanding, fracking in AR has basically been put on hold since 2011 by a 1000+square mile ban on deep waste water injection wells.  The productive area of the Fayeteville shale is in fact over a 100 miles ESE of Fayeteville and the fracking has gone on in 5 mid Arkansas counties that are roughly 30 to 50 miles north of Little Rock.  If you are concerned about fracking stay away from Oklahoma and Texas, but i don't hear much around hear of concern over fracking.
 
Ralph Kettell
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Hi R. Steele,

I agree that the Ozarks are probably a good fit and that is one of the reasons we moved here 3 years ago.  It is a beautiful place, but I must differ a bit on the snakes.  I agree they are not a huge concern, but we kill or relocate way more than a couple of copperheads each years.  We have had run ins with 6 foot mountain rattlers, copper heads, and others plus a huge list of non-poisonous snakes.  There is no shortage of wildlife.
 
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California is a big and diverse state.  I live at the edge of Silicon Valley.  Prime ag lands turning to housing developments and bad traffic.

I am a native Californian so I didn't have to fight the buying into real estate here.  I benefited from the boom.  Prepare for sticker shock.

Earthquakes aren't such a big deal if you are in a single story wood house on solid flat ground.  During the Loma Prieta, I was living and working in San Francisco and had a lot more impact than my parents house in Mountain View.  They are quite a few miles closer to the epicenter than San Francisco and the only lost a few things in the china cabinet.  Yep, flat land, single story, solid ground.  

I was at work when it hit, in a seismically engineered building on solid rock, so I didn't think it was a big earthquake.  I was living in an apartment on sand dune and all the plaster on the walls fell and an apartment building on the next block was red tagged. Glad I wasn't home at the time.   Sand dune.  Aside from all the things you saw on TV about the earthquake, most people were only inconvenienced by power outage for less than a day.  It took me three hours to get home because the bus line I normally take is electric and the other diesel run lines were full because of that.  My neighbor and I grabbed whatever booze we could find... I only had creme de menthe I had leftover from making a grasshopper pie.. and we went to USF like a couple of moths hanging outside the lobby lit by battery powered emergency lights.  We went home after visiting the Haight and seeing some looting.  I curled up in the dark until about 2 a.m. when the lights and TV came back on so I watched the local newscaster losing it on TV.  Lots of drama, but most of us were okay.  That's the only earthquake of that magnitude I've experienced in 64 years of living in the SF Bay Area.   Yes, I've experienced a lot of earthquakes in my life, but most of them are just conversation pieces.

Climate is wonderful.  Great for stone fruit where I live.  Hot days, cool night during the summer, winters see only an occasional frost around 30 deg.  We had a week of frost into the high 20's after I moved to where I am now and lost my citrus trees that I just planted because I was out of town.  Otherwise with a few tweeks for those occasions, citrus grows well here.   We have a lot of microclimates here, and people can grow avocados really well in San Jose suburbs, but down here the frost is a little deeper and we struggle a little with avocado.  But there's a nursery a mile from me that propagates citrus and avocados.  We have active chapters of California Rare Fruit Growers.

I was lucky to find a little house with mature pecan trees in my front yard and a black walnut in the back yard thankfully banked by a concrete slab so juglone poisoning isn't an issue. Both are prolific nut bearers. I planted hazelnuts, currants and woodland strawberries in the understory of the pecans.  I have a little hardpan because I'm on the valley floor that has been mechanically farmed.  I planted some pome fruits against the horse fencing (on the other side of the fence from the horses of course!).  I lost a few trees.  I guess having hardpan and my watering habits made it a hard go for establishing those trees during the drought, but this year they are flourishing from generous winter rainfall.  The roots probably found the water table too.  Summers are dry, so we have to irrigate.  My stone fruit I planted a few years ago and are doing well vegetatively, and only my multigrafted tree is bearing fruit this year...  The rest has a lot of vegetation but no fruit for some reason.  They are in an area that I sheet mulched, but I am having a lot of weed pressure anyway.  At least the weeds are mineral accumulators.   My olive trees had been lingering but all of a sudden took off and are bearing olives this year.   We have a lot of commercial conventional crops still being grown here... kale, strawberries, corn, pumpkins, cherries, mushrooms and.... yes, I live next to the Garlic Capital of the World... Gilroy.   Unfortunately, you have to go to the coast and hang out in Santa Cruz to find any permaculturists.  But that's less than an hour away.

I live in a pocket of undevelopment due to some rabid ag land preservationists.  There is a lot of fallow land here.  Yes, it's been conventionally farmed.  But I dream of people coming here and turning these lands into sustainable polycultures.  We are right at an edge of a pocket of wealth that pay premium prices for good whole foods.  A lot of locavore awareness.  I landed here because of my horses, and I often see horses being ridden down my street.  Common posts on Nextdoor are loose goats, horses, dogs, sheep and mountain lion predation.   Yet within I have a lot of retail five minutes from me so it's a convenient location.  

There are a couple of good HMO health clinics and a small hospital 10 minutes away.  The hospital has a helipad which is helpful because we are in a valley with a little bit of terrain on either side of us.  It also serves to get people to Stanford Hospital which is a premier trauma center that the small hospital isn't equipped to handle.

I am more afraid of tornadoe, hurricanes and flooding than I am of earthquakes.  At least by the time you realize there's an earthquake happening it's already over.  The prolonged anticipation of a weather disaster would drive me nuts!

Aside from the high cost of living, I would be hard pressed to live any where else.  My sisters have moved to Washington State and Oregon because of cost of living issues.  I don't do snow, and they get snowed in every winter.



 
Ralph Kettell
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Re. California earthquakes

You have not seen a really big one on your lifetime.  If you watch the earthquake trackers you will see many 6s, 7s, and even an 8 in just the past month at points to the west Pacific side of the same plate boundary that you are on in the east Pacific.  Loma Prieta was a 6.9.  Compare that to the 2011 Japan event at 9.0/9.1.  That is 160 times stronger and 2000 times the energy released.  I personally spend as little time in CA as posible and I know all of its great points.  It is all about risk reward.   You have had a great 64 year track record, for your sake I hope it continues.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Serious earthquakes are rare. Having been raised in California, I have always thought that people is other places worry way too much about them. And now we are seeing them happen other areas, ones where they aren't so expected. I am much more focused on a place that fits my day to day needs than some remote possibility disaster. I highly recommend the west coast. And as far as medical facilities go, Medford and surrounding areas are a big retirement area with lots of medical and VA facilities.



I second Stacy's recommendation of the southern Oregon/northernmost California area. Medford is a good 'resource' place that isn't mega city and still surrounded by lovely open/agriculture areas. We live in California just below the Oregon border and find our area to be a wonderful blend of positives that work for and suit us. I grew up in the San Francisco bay area which was orchards, dairys and crop fields in my 1950s youth. Sadly that most excellent growing climate and soil is now covered with mega cities radiating out from the bay to a 2+ hour driving range!

Our previous 'homestead' was in the central coastal mountains (east of Monterey CA). Loved the peace and terrain and managed to create a decent sustainable place for ourselves. However less rainfall (under 10" average/year) as well as creeping influx of 'wannabe rural' (yes they really were!!!) types made our life uncomfortable to where we decided to make one more move. We searched most of the western states only to find what really suited us right here - a most peaceful little valley with open spaces and agriculture (mainly cattle and alfalfa) but not all that far from resources that aren't 'home grown' here (Scott Valley).

Having lived with earthquakes - including the 1987 big one - fearing them just doesn't make sense to me. Life goes on and the damages done get repaired soon enough. (Lived in Hollister CA so called earthquake capital) Drought is MUCH more a serious threat to life! If you want more details, PM me and we can e-chat.

Picture #1 is previous 'homestead' and #2 current location view
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Dado Scooter
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Yes, Ralph, I have yet to experience a "big one".  My college major was Earth Sciences, so I may understand it better than most and I'm still not scared of earthquakes.  These events along the San Andreas Fault... the fault in the area that's capable of generating an earthquake this large has a 200-250 year periodicity along the locked segments of the fault. This means that we would have an event along  a particular locked segment of the San Andreas, not along the entire fault, so it is somewhat localized.  We do have a high probability of experiencing one at any time in the SF Bay Area. Our state has engineering standards that would mitigate a lot of structure losses.  Our weak link is our dependence on the electric grid, and our older structures.  The high number of deaths from other earthquakes across the world is due to lack of building codes and preparation for such events.  Believe me, California has the brainpower and tax base to enforce rigorous building codes and beef up public works to withstand such events.  We are propagandized with earthquake preparedness every October, ad nauseum.

Compare this to weather events.  Like the number of deadly hurricanes lining up in the Antlantic over the past years, the rampant flooding over this last year and the repeated tornado warnings in the tornado belt, you have to admit that the frequency of these events far exceed the number of deadly earthquakes we experience in California.

The largest earthquake in my lifetime, the Loma Prieta, resulted in 67 deaths in a very populated area.  Same area with less population, the great San Francisco 1906 earthquake, is estimated to claim 3,000 persons without the stringent seismic and fire codes we have today.  According to NOAA, each year 60 people die of tornadoes alone.  Hurricanes have claimed thousands at a time, and deadly hurricanes are increasing.

Disaster recovery is a lot quicker with earthquakes.  Structural damage was spotty in the Loma Prieta earthquake.  Yes, you saw on TV dramatic fires, freeway structures collapsing, and brick buildings turned to piles of rubble, but neighborhoods were still relatively intact.  Yes it took awhile to reconstruct the roadways and rebuilt all the collapsed buildings, again isolated cases among other intact buildings and freeway structures, but they only closed the financial district off in SF for a couple of days to clear rubble and repair services.  We were all back to work in the Financial District by the end of the week.  Most areas didn't even have to close businesses the day after because of minimal damage.  Most of the SF Bay Area returned to work the next morning with stories to tell their coworkers. Compare that to recovery from flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes where whole neighborhoods can be wiped out.  Plus you have to wait until waters recede before you can even think about recovering after a hurricane or extreme flooding.

Again, weather events are a lot more scary to me than any stinkin' event that happens every couple hundred years.   The Pacific Northwest has much deadlier thrust faults that can generate much larger earthquakes than the San Andreas Fault.  Like the 1964 Alaska earthquake and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that left us with Fukushima radiation.   The periodicity of these earthquakes are centuries apart.  The oceanic Juan de Fuca plate is pushing the Pacific Northwest into the continent and that could cause a 9 Richter earthquake and effect the less populated parts of northern California.  The last event there was in 1700.
 
Dado Scooter
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P.S.  PG&E is a weak link as evidenced by the Camp Fire and several other power transmission line generated fires in California.  To mitigate that, California is very proactive about legislating increased solar power generation.  Plus we are probably the epicenter of Tesla Power Walls, so you have choices about to survive a grid outage if you're a homeowner.
 
Dado Scooter
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P.S.2...  Jain, Hollister was a place much talked about in my lower division geology class as far as being the Earthquake capitol of the World!  Not far from the Garlic Capital, eh?  Hollister always had smaller earthquakes and is the "moving" part of the San Andreas complex, not a "locked" part.  It's moving and placing stress on the "locked" portions of the San Andreas Fault complex, which includes the Hayward and Calaveras Fault.  You probably saw a lot of USGS personnel around town all the time.  And you probably just laughed at all the earthquakes, as I did since I was a child in Mountain View.

I remember the series of 6 Magnitude earthquakes generated from Livermore.  I was at a stop sign for one, and watched the road roll, and figured out where the epicenter was approximately, and the magnitude.  I was working in Los Altos at the time, and experienced another one while working on the second floor of a concrete tiltup.  I watched the floor roll, and again... I figured out it was a 6 in Livermore again.  I remember being a college student at UCSC and experiencing a 3 while lying in bed.  I called my boyfriend at that time and he said I was just drunk and stoned.  Next morning I went to the seismograph in my classroom building, and sure enough... it was an earthquake on one of three little faults in the Monterey Bay... My Fault, Your Fault and McHenry's (the current college chancellor) Fault as my professors fondly called them.  All were just something we just laughed and talked about for a minute or two before we went back to work.  Probably how you experienced life in Hollister with all your earthquakes.

I live sandwiched between the San Andreas and Calaveras Fault.  I'm on flat ground in a wood framed house that survived the Loma Prieta just fine. Lot more damage in San Francisco many more miles to the north. I am a lot closer to the Loma Prieta epicenter... I think maybe I'm less than 10 miles from it, and I believe I'm even closer to the Calaveras Fault.  I could ride my horse and be at the fault line in 1/2 an hour from my house.  I wouldn't expect another rupture on the San Andreas at Loma Prieta, but the Calaveras Fault is highly suspect for a 7 event.   Still not scared of earthquakes.
 
Jain Anderson
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Dado Scooter wrote:P.S.2...  Jain, Hollister was a place much talked about in my lower division geology class as far as being the Earthquake capitol of the World!  Not far from the Garlic Capital, eh?  Hollister always had smaller earthquakes and is the "moving" part of the San Andreas complex, not a "locked" part.  It's moving and placing stress on the "locked" portions of the San Andreas Fault complex, which includes the Hayward and Calaveras Fault.  You probably saw a lot of USGS personnel around town all the time.  And you probably just laughed at all the earthquakes, as I did since I was a child in Mountain View..



Small world Dado! My childhood was in what I now call a 'stucco tent' (1950s tract home) in Mountain View! As a child I played in a pear orchard and row crops fields that were then just over the back fence. Earthquakes were just 'there', no big deal for us. Our property(pictured above) at the time of the Loma Prieta quake was 30 miles SE of Hollister on solid bedrock coastal mountains. Neighbor reported a small 'bump' when it happened. I was in Hollister at the time and indoors at a friend's house. She panicked  and I just watched the structure 'flex' without any damage. Yes building codes have been of help. An entire street (in line with Calaveras fault) in Hollister had the (older) houses shift off their foundations. They were later jacked up, shifted back and attached better to the foundations. Ready now for next quake;-)

Like you, weather was our main concern when looking for property. We opted for more rain (15-25 inches/year) and 'normal' conditions - some snow (elevation 3000'). The biggest concern here would be if Mount Shasta became active. But seeing as how what happened with Mt. St. Helens, not being in line of sight to it reassures us.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Jain and Dado - I also grew up in the Bay, Palo Alto for me. The San Andreas fault line was a field trip for us. There was a fence that was originally connected that had moved apart 10 feet or so. You just accept these things as a part of life. I would say one to the big issues other than cost that drove us out of the area was traffic. The Bay Area has become like LA. You can never depend on there not being traffic. I would be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a random Tuesday at 1:00, for no reason. We really wouldn't go anywhere anymore.
 
Jain Anderson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Jain and Dado - I also grew up in the Bay, Palo Alto for me. The San Andreas fault line was a field trip for us. There was a fence that was originally connected that had moved apart 10 feet or so. You just accept these things as a part of life. I would say one to the big issues other than cost that drove us out of the area was traffic. The Bay Area has become like LA. You can never depend on there not being traffic. I would be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a random Tuesday at 1:00, for no reason. We really wouldn't go anywhere anymore.



Howdy 'neighbor'! Yes, the traffic in almost any large city is beyond reason. Even Medford gets challenging at times. In our area there are NO traffic lights (town = 600!) and the going comment here is that if one needs to wait at an intersection for A car, that's 'traffic'! We did commute for nearly 10 years (Hollister to SillyCon Valley) so have put in our time in the big cities too. The few less amenities here are well surpassed by the peace, quiet and sane living that is here. Medford is just an hours drive for us and mainly on I-5 which is never heavy traffic though busier during summer months.

I just wish some younger and more ambitious 'Permie(s)' would come here, take advantage of lower prices and develop a decent market garden/orchard so us retired (from main efforts) could enjoy the fruits of their labors. There is sooooo much unused land here.
 
Steve Humbolt
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Thank you all for your input.  This is going to take some time and more research, but right now Colorado and Idaho seem most appealing.

Again, thanks!
 
pollinator
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Steve

If you don't already have it, check out "strategic relocation" book by Joel skousen. He researched the states and provides detailed analysis and recommendations.

His top pick in the east, was the cumberland plateau in Tennessee. I ended up just east of the plateau in tn and am working on transforming a few acres of neglected rolling pasture to food forest.

Its got low cost of entry, no state income tax, and historically plenty of rain. Not many snakes in my parts but other areas differ. Close to decent size towns for shopping and healthcare. Bonus, big beautiful clean lakes.

Good luck!
 
Steve Humbolt
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@ J Davis  Thanks!  I'll look into the book and the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.

A more general question.  There are a number of locations that I've seen that have comparable rainfall, but different amounts of snowfall.  An example is Prescott, AZ vs. Fort Collins, CO.  They both get approx 16"-18" of rain.  Prescott gets about 13" of snow and Fort Collins gets about 57" of snow.  How much of a difference would this make in being able to grow things?  I'm not thinking so much about being cold in the winter, but moisture in the ground and having to irrigate plants.  I understand swales and organic material in the ground will retain moisture, but would it retain the moisture long enough to make a difference during the growing season (ie Summer)?
 
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Suppose i should add my 2c, too :)

Lived in most of the states you've mentioned. Lived in CO for 7 years, Cali for a year, NC for a year, and Washington for over 20. Have family in AZ for the last 15 years. They actively practice permaculture on their orchard in Chino Valley

AZ- concern: Water. You already know that. My bro in law is a huge permaculturist tho and he swears by that flood irrigation stuff. He also swears that Prescott area (in general) gets more rainfall than Phoenix, and i believe it does. So there are options there, i suppose. Water still scares me in AZ, personally. Living in the PNW with water readily available at a whim makes me appreciate that aspect, i suppose.

CO- Love Colorado, feel the same way about water there as i do about AZ to be completely honest. I had a huge struggle with even small gardens there personally just because most of the major areas are at altitude and due to that its SUPER dry as you likely know from your time in Ft Collins. I lived just at 7k in COS and man was it tougher than i thought to grow. So theyres that. Also, fires. Yikes. Other than water and fires, OH and TERRIBLE hail storms which can and do absolutely obliterate everything in their path including any and all greenery and homes and livestock. Other than those THREE things, Colorado can/would be ideal. Such a pristine place up in the Rockies....i digress...

Cali- I loved Cali and i can see why so many people live there. With that said, i was on the central coast which still has some decent cost of living, but my 2c on Cali is that despite some of eastern and Northern or Central areas that still can be 'somewhat' affordable now days, the downsides i feel would be generally cost of living, like i said. Taxes, depends on how you feel about that. And as the discussion has been going, FIRES are huge there, too, and earthquakes are a concern for anyone, lets be real. Yeah it gets hyped up in Cali and on the west coast in general, because of the potential for severe damage. So its really up to you. Lastly, not sure i seen this mentioned- DROUGHT. Yikes. I know that when i was in good ol Colorado i had learned that over 50% of our local rocky mountain water (most of the water there comes from snowfall in the rockies) anywyay, over 50% of that water actually gets sold to california. I wasnt super happy about learning that because it effected the local in the area when colorado was in drought (which is all the time now days) where we had major water restrictions, and its like come on we sell over 50% of that water to cali cant we just stop doing that and use our own water, and maybe not be in such a "drought"//// but i digress. Just really annoying.


WA- current location. Grew up here. Very familiar with the entire PNW including BC, ID, OR. Seems like the PNW posts so far are pretty spot on. Water isnt an issue here, normally. Drought is very rare. Concerns are-- Western WA and OR would be cost of living in most metropolitan areas, but if you get far enough out there are def some affordable areas (kind of like in Cali). But taxes are high in these areas too. Were trying to keep up with cali it seems. But wildfires not so much a concern in western washington even tho they absolutely can and do happen. We have a lot of trees. Wildland fire mitigation isnt as good as it prob should be due to the sheer volume of trees here. It is what it is.
Eastern WA OR are more affordable, but more fire danger. More drought. Drier, less rainfall, all as stated by others before. Idaho is a mixture as well. It depends on where you are in ID.

Western OR or WA concern- volcanoes. Not sure that was brought up yet. Not lava per se, but Lahars are a huge concern for anyone who has land in any of the valleys or by rivers. All of that will get wiped out by certain explosions, depending on which volcanoe goes. So keep that in mind if you buy land in the valleys. USGS has maps online that highlight floodplanes for this. Also ash from the explosions will cover the surrounding areas. Trying to remember how far the Mt St Helens ash went in the 80's but i know it made it to other states such as Montana, etc. So it travels. It ruins stuff in larger quantities. And earthquakes are just as much a concern here as california. We are all located (on the west coast) on the Ring of Fire and we all have volcanoes and fault lines underneath us, they all could produce severe earthquakes just like in Japan, Philippines, etc. Our faults arent just quite as volatile as the strike-slip fault in Cali (san andreas) Supposedly.... so i think geologists arent as concerned with us (WA, OR).

ID- great option, in my humble opinion. Can pick from areas that have more rainfall (N Idaho) and are pristine areas like Couer d'Alene, omg, its stunning there. Id live there in a heartbeat if my situation was different.
Wildfires are just as much a concern there as here. Taxes are less in ID and also cost of living is great.

Last but not least NC. As youve mentioned ticks. Yep, theyre everywhere in the south in general. They love that heat and humidity and area. Lyme disease is a concern.  All of my friends work in the healthcare industry. With that said, healthcare companies are going to actually stop paying for treatments for latent effects of latent lyme disease in general. So if you get the disease and eventually display latent effects in relation to the disease, health insurance wont get cover that. Its kind of scary, and lyme disease is no joke. So thats one consideration. Two, the polluted water situation east of Fayetteville. If you are even considering eastern NC, due to how polluted that water is, i personally wouldnt. Look it up, youll see. Its scary. Western NC is in the beautiful Appalachian mountains and is a good option, tho. Very popular with homesteaders. Know that the entire state is/can be effected by hurricanes, which can/should be a concern. This last hurricane (Florence) most areas got hit with some sort of storm, and anywhere eastern NC was hit hardest. Another reason to stay away form ENC. My house was right in the eye of florence and ive seen some bad devastation from hurricanes. They are terrible, to say the least. Thats maybe the largest concern for anywhere east coast, To be honest.

Hmm, think thats it. No place is perfect, its all about what youre willing to deal with, and what youre not. Very similar to marriage. Give and take in various areas. Whats important to you? What do YOU value most? That'll help you choose a good location. And my personal advice, unsolicited, i know; would be to be sure to visit for any extended period of time, any location that you are wanting to move to PRIOR to moving there. I know way toooooo many people who have moved places they were absolutely convinced they would just love-- and hated it. Or even not really HATED it all the time, they just coudlnt/wouldnt live there for any long period of time. For what its worth

Cheers!!!
Michelle  
 
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land owners do not normally own their mineral rights. We had a paperwork fluke that gave us ours. Not the norm.

Fracking is happening in a lot of states. It's happening in mine and all those around me. If you limit yourself to places without oil you'll be cutting out a lot of the midwest/west.

I think you should decide what fruit trees you want to grow and go for that climate. Then you adjust. Is permaculture easy in 11" of rainfall Wyoming, nope. Darn near impossible, actually. But land is relatively cheap, air and water are clean and it's where I grew up so..here I am.
 
Steve Humbolt
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@Michelle Arbol  Thank you for you input.  This is very helpful.  I spent some time last night looking into Coeur d'alene.  I didn't see many homes for sale in the area.  What do you think of Western Montana?

@elle sagenev  That's a great idea.  I'm interested in growing a lot of different trees/plants, but am probably most interested in growing apples.  I spent some time looking for how much precipitation it takes to support apple trees but didn't find anything.  What trees are you able to grow in your climate, and how much supplemental water do you need?  I climates and permaculture designs make a difference, but am trying to gauge what is possible.


 
Dado Scooter
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Follow up regarding California earthquakes.... 7.1 in Ridgecrest tonight has produced a a lot of drama and disruption... a few fires, road closures due to rupture, people sleeping out on the streets in fear of structures falling around them.  So far no deaths and only minor injuries reported.  Not in a populated area.

Earthquakes in Oregon and Washington has a longer periodicity... but when one rips it could be potentially larger and more disruptive... like the Anchorage or the one in Japan.

One thing to consider about Western Montana... short growing season, aridity....  You don't see much foodstuff growing there.  I spent time in western Wyoming in the 1970's and salad there was old iceberg lettuce with half a cherry tomato....  primarily a carnivorous diet prevails there.  They have terrible winters there.... being a Californian I wouldn't go anywhere near there in the winter.  Beautiful rugged scenary though, if all that makes you happy.  It hailed and snowed hard in the middle of July when I was there.

P.S.  As a northern Californian, I hate it when people call our state Cali!  It is SoCal that's sucking up everyone's water... our Norcal Sierra snowpack feeds southern California as well as the Colorado River.
 
Travis Johnson
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elle sagenev wrote:land owners do not normally own their mineral rights. We had a paperwork fluke that gave us ours. Not the norm.



In several of the western states that holds true because the majority landowners is the Federal Government. Knowing they would not be able to explore all their land, they adopted mineral rights that came from the Eastern States, and ultimately Europe. In that case, they are eager to sell the mineral rights so that private citizens and companies explore, and then mine the resources so that income is generated...or discoveries made so that reserves of minerals are known in case of later need. (War) Those rights were sold off a long time ago...

In the Eastern States, mineral rights are just one of many, many rights that are automatically granted to the landowner. Mineral Rights, Air Rights, Water Rights, Ability to Build, Timber Rights, Rights of Way, etc. People often think of a deed as having some land and some buildings on it, but it really is a paper (deed) that consists of a bundle of asparagus. Each asparagus stalk represents a specific right. The deed is the rubber band that holds all those land rights together. On the deed, these specific rights are not listed, just as in financial legal documents "USA Currency" is not specified, because it is just ASSUMED that is the currency being used.

In my case, I own the mineral rights under every acre that I own...to the center of the earth. That does not mean I will mine any of my land anytime soon. That is because Maine and New Hampshire are not a mining state, and they do not want to be. Because of that, they have very restrictive mining laws. They cannot deny me the right, or anyone, the right to mine, but they can tell me how to mine. Just like a city cannot tell a person they cannot build a house, but they can make the building codes so restrictive it is not possible to build a house in a given spot.

In my case I have something called "Being Grandfathered." Maine mining laws started in 1970, and our farm has been in the family since 1746, so we have mined here before the law went into effect. Therefore my land is not subjected to many of the laws others in Maine are required to adhere too. But just because a person has the right to do something, does not mean they should. I have no intention of mining...other then digging gravel out of my gravel pit, but that it just for my own farm use. I do not sell it.

But on my farm there is some water right stuff (a stream so sheep could get water way back in 1860 that somehow went through litigation). A power-line right of way. A right of way to my neighbor's house. Numerous cemeteries. "Life Leases", and a host of other crazy stuff that was needed at some point since 1746.

The point here is, every piece of land is different. I have many different properties in two states, and it gets kind of crazy when you read through the deeds. About once a year the Registrar of Deeds says, "Wow, I have not heard of that before". Then the chase is on, and I'll be at the Deed office all afternoon.
 
Posts: 34
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We Permie-Folks finally have a centralized place to search and talk with each other about properties for sale, as well as to list Permaculture Properties.
Seeing what's out there can really help narrow down locations to search for property.

We just launched The Permaculture Properties Project which lists properties of interest to permies. (I am not a real estate agent. This is a not-for-profit project).
It covers the US at this point. We will link an additional page w/raw land offerings soon.
See link here: https://padlet.com/jmwallacephd/ppp
Anyone can post properties of interest. Just double click and add (moderator will approve).
If you visit a property, you can share comment or notes about the site.

Will soon link our master spreadsheet rating 70+ variables (like hardiness zone, annual precipitation, soil types, air pollution, proximity of SuperFund sites, real estate prices, taxes, etc).
 
Michelle Arbol
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Steve Humbolt wrote:@Michelle Arbol  Thank you for you input.  This is very helpful.  I spent some time last night looking into Coeur d'alene.  I didn't see many homes for sale in the area.  What do you think of Western Montana?

@elle sagenev  That's a great idea.  I'm interested in growing a lot of different trees/plants, but am probably most interested in growing apples.  I spent some time looking for how much precipitation it takes to support apple trees but didn't find anything.  What trees are you able to grow in your climate, and how much supplemental water do you need?  I climates and permaculture designs make a difference, but am trying to gauge what is possible.




Just saw your post. I dont think the @ thing worked to tag me.
Anyway, yeah, im not surprised there isnt much for sale in that area. What sites are you using to find land? Land Watch? Zillow? Not sure, might help to mix it up a bit on that front, use different sites to search. Might get a better picture.
In regards to Western Montana, ive spent some time there and i personally love it. If it wasn't so far from the ocean id plant myself there, hands down. Thats just my personal taste tho. As far as things to be concerned about, well, it gets cold and snowy there. I dont care about that, but a lot of people wouldnt move there because of it. As far as natural disasters, id say fire is the first thing that comes to mind, for sure. Its dry there. But other than fire, im not sure what else would be a huge concern.....I have never lived in Western Montana, so it might be helpful to get better advice from someone who has lived there
hope that helps! Im excited to see where you land!
M
 
Steve Humbolt
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Michelle Arbol wrote:

Steve Humbolt wrote:@Michelle Arbol  Thank you for you input.  This is very helpful.  I spent some time last night looking into Coeur d'alene.  I didn't see many homes for sale in the area.  What do you think of Western Montana?

@elle sagenev  That's a great idea.  I'm interested in growing a lot of different trees/plants, but am probably most interested in growing apples.  I spent some time looking for how much precipitation it takes to support apple trees but didn't find anything.  What trees are you able to grow in your climate, and how much supplemental water do you need?  I climates and permaculture designs make a difference, but am trying to gauge what is possible.




Just saw your post. I dont think the @ thing worked to tag me.
Anyway, yeah, im not surprised there isnt much for sale in that area. What sites are you using to find land? Land Watch? Zillow? Not sure, might help to mix it up a bit on that front, use different sites to search. Might get a better picture.
In regards to Western Montana, ive spent some time there and i personally love it. If it wasn't so far from the ocean id plant myself there, hands down. Thats just my personal taste tho. As far as things to be concerned about, well, it gets cold and snowy there. I dont care about that, but a lot of people wouldnt move there because of it. As far as natural disasters, id say fire is the first thing that comes to mind, for sure. Its dry there. But other than fire, im not sure what else would be a huge concern.....I have never lived in Western Montana, so it might be helpful to get better advice from someone who has lived there
hope that helps! Im excited to see where you land!
M



Sorry, I'll try to figure out how to tag.

I've been doing a fair bit of reading and watching videos to try to help figure out where to go.  The main videos, articles, and books are:
The article "Finding the Land that's Right for You" (http://tobyhemenway.com/1213-finding-the-land-thats-right-for-you/), video "Permaculture soil basics" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnOxF75F2b8), "The Permaculture Designers' Manual", and "The Keyline Plan".

From my reading it appears that there are three main types of landscapes:  deserts, grasslands, and forests.  I'm thinking that grasslands would be the best since they have more organic material than the other landscapes, have a more balanced pH (6-6.3), and I wouldn't have to cut down trees for sunlight to reach a garden.  Grasslands occur in North Central Idaho in an area called the Palouse.  The largest cities in the grasslands are Moscow and Lewiston.  Moscow looks better since it gets 27 inches of rain while Lewiston gets 16.  Lewiston looks better than Moscow in terms of hardiness zone (7 vs 5)  https://www.extension.uidaho.edu/publishing/pdf/BUL/BUL0857.pdf.  Coeur d' Alene still looks temping, although I don't know how much of an issue the soil and trees would be compared to Moscow or Lewiston.  Any input is appreciated.

 
Steve Humbolt
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I forgot to mention that I'm also looking at water balance using the website:  https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/waterbalance
It appears that the soil moisture in Lewiston is quite low, currently 483mm.  This is comparable to Phoenix which is currently 481 mm.  
 
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